iPads, Travel

An iPad and Mickey Mouse

This month, my wife Mary and I took our two kids, Ethan (eight) and Lauren (six), to experience all that Disney and Universal Studios have to offer in Orlando, Florida. This was our fourth family vacation to the Sunshine State, so at this point, between our other trips and my wife’s research, we are pros at running the Disney gauntlet.

However, the one area that always seemed to be stressful was the arrival at the Orlando airport and subsequent transportation to the resort. After a flight with kids, the last thing we want to do is spend time in lines waiting for taxis, shuttles or rental cars. So this time I decided to prearrange a car via Town Car Now. Since there were four of us, the cost wasn’t much more than a shuttle or taxi, and the promise of having a car waiting upon our arrival sounded like just what we needed.

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Travel

Mobile LAN Trip Report

 We are back from our West Virginia rafting trip.  Normally that wouldn’t warrant a post on a blog about technology.  However, what we did on the way there and the way back makes it relevant.  You can read the details of our plan in this post:  http://blog.timrettig.com/2009/07/09/another-trip-another-crazy-project/.  In short, we connected our van to the Internet, provided minute by minute picture updates to a public website, and setup video conferencing between our vehicles.  Here is how it went down:

Mobile Internet Access

We setup a laptop in the van with a Verizon aircard and then used Windows to share that connection via wireless between the users in the van.  We also had an AT&T aircard, and a couple of people tethered to their phones.  We have been using aircards for years, but not this extensively, not over this terrain, and not as a mobile shared connection. 

Van
Mission control in the van.

As expected, our only issue was data service.  We had service from both Verizon and AT&T and both services had major outages on our trip from Cincinnati, OH to Fayetteville, WV.  We knew we would have occasional drops, but we didn’t expect Continue reading

Travel

Another trip, another crazy project

Tomorrow our company departs for our annual rafting trip in West Virginia.  Rafting down the New River is a blast, but the road trip there and back is rather mundane.  So to spice things up, we have decided to have some fun along the way.  We have decided to turn our caravan into a mobile network.  We are planning on using the Verizon data network as our primary link, and the AT&T data network as a backup.  We will use a laptop to share those connections among the passengers via wireless 802.11x.  Our caravan consists of a 12 passenger van, and a smaller “chase” vehicle.  We should be able to share our wireless network between vehicles.  That means we should be able to video conference between vehicles as we drive down the road.  We haven’t quite figured that part out, but we will do that while on the road. 
A network on the go.
A network on the go.

Our mobile network will provide minute by minute image updates to a public website.  We will also be tweeting, using the hash-tag of #lansol so you can follow us.  I will be updating my blog with more information about our network as we travel down the highway.  I will provide the link to the website once we depart.  We also plan on providing GPS updates about our location.  We depart about 1:30 EST, so check back then! 

 
Barrow, Travel

Arrival in Barrow

 We arrived in Barrow this evening.  We flew in on an Alaskan Airlines jet that is half cargo and half passengers.  Being that is was a jet, it was a much nicer flight than I had been expecting.  I was expecting a much smaller prop plane.  Here is a nice picture of the terrain that surrounds Barrow:
Alaskan Tundra
Alaskan Tundra

Once we arrived, we got our gear, piled into the pickup truck and drove to our “hotel” to check in.  The hotel is actually just some shipping containers joined together into a building. Continue reading

Barrow, Travel

Let the Adventure Begin!

I have made it to Anchorage, and we don’t have to sleep at the airport!  I am at a hotel near the airport to catch some sleep before we catch our next plane to Fairbanks, and then on to Barrow.  So far the trip has been uneventful.  The only thing of note was the great Salmon burger I had at Allan’s Seafood in the Seattle airport.  Much better than I expected!

Barrow, Travel

No Hotel in Anchorage?

I was reviewing my travel itinerary for next week .  On Monday I fly out of Cincinnati in the evening, layover in Seattle, and then arrive in Anchorage just before midnight Alaska time.  I then fly out of Anchorage on Tuesday afternoon, layover in Fairbanks, then onto Barrow.  I arrive in Barrow Tuesday evening.

So I am missing a hotel Monday night in Anchorage.  I have almost 16 hours between flights.  I sent an e-mail to find out what the plan is.  Hopefully it isn’t to sleep in the airport.  I have done that before in a snow storm, and it is no fun!  I don’t remember sleeping in an airport being listed on the release I signed?  http://blog.timrettig.com/2009/06/07/scariest-release-form-yet/